The Raspberry Pi 400 is a small sized keyboard which contains a single-board computer inside of it. The idea of having a functional computer inside of a keyboard isn’t anything new. But the Raspberry Pi 400 feels special and different to those that came before it. The unit itself feels well built like it was made to last and the typing experience is far better than what it should be considering the price of this unit. At the time of writing the keyboard comes in 6 different layouts including UK,UK,French,German,Spanish and Italian with more layouts coming soon. The Raspberry Pi 400 kit that I purchased cost me a measly £94 and inside included everything you need to get up and running. The box contains the Pi 400 device itself, a USB-C power plug, a MicroHDMI cable, an optical mouse, a 16GB SD card that has Raspberry Pi OS pre-loaded on it and the Raspberry Pi beginners book.
At the rear of the device you’ll find a reasonable selection of ports and I/O such as ;
- 1x Gigabit Ethernet Port
- 1X USB 2.0 Port
- 2x USB 3.0 Ports
- USB-C Power port
- MicroSD Port
- GPIO Header
For the most part this selection of ports should be just about enough to connect any additional devices and accessories you need, however there is one important port missing. I would have liked to have seen a 3.5mm headphone jack on the Pi 400 as you may not always be fortunate enough to have a display with speakers built in. You can of course remedy this by sacrificing one of your USB ports for a USB to 3.5mm jack adapter to drive audio to external speakers or headphones. This is less than ideal though when you consider you only have a total of 3 USB ports.
Performance wise the Raspberry Pi 400 is by no means a powerhouse but it delivers where it’s important. I was able to connect the device to two HD monitors and work on some office documents, browse the web and reply to emails with relative ease. The only time the Raspberry Pi 400 really started to struggle was when watching YouTube videos at 1080p. This was the case on the included SD card with Raspberry Pi OS on it and some of the other operating systems I’ve tried so far. The operating system I felt worked the best for me was Manjaro using the i3 window manager. I’ll keep testing out different operating systems on it but for day to day use I think Manjaro might be the one I use the most. Internally the specs of the device are ;
- Quad-Core 64bit Cortex A72 ARM Processor
- 4GB of RAM
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Dual-Band Wireless.
There are several use cases and ways a device like this could be used. For example you could turn an old TV into a smart TV with software such as Plasma big screen, practice codings or use it to play retro games and emulators. I actually happen to think it would make a brilliant first computer for a young child that’s just starting to get interested in computers that would also help them learn along the way. I’ll be using it as a spare device to tinker with things and test out different software and distributions being made for the ARM architecture.
Overall I think this is a brilliant little device at an extremely reasonable price point. If you’ve been considering buying one for yourself but was holding off for whatever reason, go for it it’s not a purchase I think you’ll regret and will provide you with plenty hours of fun tinkering around with it.What do you think about the Raspberry Pi 400? Let me know in the comments below!